Tag Archives: New Orleans

Wedding Things

I can’t believe that January will be over next week. I have a long road ahead, but it feels good to be moving in a healthy direction. I’ve lost 80 pounds in nearly four months, and that’s just a fraction of the changes that are happening in my life right now.

I’m getting married in June, and last week we picked the venue, booked the date, decided on the cakes (yes, wedding cake and groom’s cake) and chose the menu. We’ll have 3 choices for the main course, heavy hors de vours and an open bar. Michael and I don’t drink much, but we figured some of our guests will enjoy it.

I came up with a wedding hashtag (because that’s how my brain works,) and I started a wedding registry on Amazon over the weekend too. (Who knew that was a thing?!) And we will probably register at Bed Bath and Beyond as well. Can’t we register at Target too? Ha…

It’s hard to shop for wedding dresses, but thanks to Kiyonna, I’m pretty sure I know which dress I’ll buy. Kiyonna is one of my favorite brands, and though my size is changing too much to order now, I’m looking forward to trying on the dress in the spring.

I’m thankful that companies like Kiyonna exist because, honestly, I’ve lost about 80 pounds, in addition to what I kept off before, and I’m still too big to have many choices at a place like David’s Bridal. Wedding dresses tend to run small (at least that’s what I’ve heard,) and they go up to size 26. That’s about where I am in now in traditional plus sizes. There’s just no way I’d be willing to order a dress without having an idea of how it’ll look or if it’ll even fit. No way, man….

The next few months will be busy. Michael is in the process of taking his CPA exams, we’re traveling a few times in the coming weeks and months, and we’re looking for a new place to live. I’ve been in the same apartment for nearly 5 years, but it’s kind of small for two people.

I’m looking forward to the changes that are coming, and I’m so thankful for everything happening in my life right now. 2017 is already a good year, and I’m looking forward to enjoying it even more.

 

End of the Year Reflections

I suppose the end of the year always makes me reflective, and this year is no different. Many of my friends are so glad that 2016 is almost over, and there’s something so hopeful about starting  a new year. I’m ready for that too, but 2016 was a great year for me.

At the end of 2015 I started going into an office everyday, and over a year later I had no idea that I could like that so much. I’ve always enjoyed being around people, but getting to work with the people I see everyday has added so much happiness to my life. I feel so much joy when I think about the people whose lives have been touched, and I feel thankful for those who’ve touched mine.

 

I struggled to let go of people who weren’t good for me at the end of 2015 too. Letting go of those people made it possible for me to meet someone who actually loves me.

I technically met Michael for the first time in December of 2015, but I started having feelings for him when we attended a Bible study together at the beginning of the year. That time of intimacy and healing among friends led me to fall in love with that man while allowing God to move in our lives and heal us from past hurts.

In the Spring I had the most terrifying experience of my life when Mom had, not one, but two strokes. I was so afraid of losing her for a while, but God was gracious once again. I knew at that point that I wasn’t turning away from Him, and I told Him that no matter what, I needed Him to continue holding me. God really showed off His strength in my weakness throughout that time, and my faith was renewed over and over as a result.

When the Summer came I got health insurance for the first time in a long while, and I found a new doctor who suggested that I have weight-loss surgery. My process was streamlined because of my experience with Weight Watchers, and on September 28th I went through with the surgery.

The surgery took much more out of me than I realized it would, and the healing process felt a little like hell on earth. I faced feelings of regret, fear and faced an unexpected lack of self-confidence. I was miserable for many weeks, but the weight started coming off. As hard as it was I am so thankful that I went through that process. I’m also thankful for the opportunities I have now to remind others that it will eventually be okay again…better than okay.

Throughout the post-op, healing process I was reminded how loved I am. My mom, Michael and a few friends did everything they could to make me happy and comfortable even when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I was forced to recognize how loved I am for no reason other than people choose to love me. That was a pretty awesome realization.

Now I’m moving into 2017 planning a wedding to a man who makes my life feel like a Hallmark movie. Seriously though…we compliment each other well.  I don’t have dreams of a big, crazy wedding, but I can’t wait to get it done so I can wake up next to him everyday. I spent a big part of the afternoon researching venues and talking with friends who have gone through this process in the area. I think I may have found the perfect place, but I won’t know more until after the holidays (next week maybe.)

There’s so much to be thankful for at the end of each year, but this year has been pretty wonderful overall. It wasn’t all easy, but the positives outweighed the negatives for me.

I don’t think life is patterned in yearly segments, but I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings. I hope you are too.

Happy New Year!

 

Chains Are Breaking

In my last post I briefly mentioned that I don’t feel so chained to my plate anymore, and I want to take a little time to explain what I mean.

chick-fil-a-nuggetsMy love for food makes it easy forget how much smaller my stomach is now. For instance, when I went to Chick-fil-a in the past I typically skipped the fries and drink and opted for the original chicken sandwich and an order of 8 chicken nuggets. It was easily justified in my mind because it was still less calories than fries and a drink.

Now, if I actually go to Chick-fil-a, I can eat 3 to 4 little nuggets, and that’s enough to keep me satisfied for at least a few hours. They’re protein-packed too, which is cool.

Last week I attended Shiftcon, and throughout the conference we were provided with healthy, shiftconbalanced meals. My stomach is smaller, but I still wanted to enjoy the food. I got the smallest portions I could, but I still found my plates to be far too full. That happens a lot, but now instead of torturing myself by trying to eat more than I should I just let it go.

The plate of food on the right looked delicious, and it was. I ate most of the chicken wing, a few bites of the fish and a few bites of the cabbage slaw. (I love cabbage!) I shared the rest of my food and let them take what I couldn’t eat.

I don’t like wasting food, nor does my leftovers loving boyfriend. I’m just learning that it’s better to eat it later, or let it go. My old, overeating normal wasn’t making me strong and healthy. It was making me gain weight and feel lethargic, but my new normal allows me to let it go.

shiftcon-2016I’ve lost 55 pounds in the last 10.5 weeks, and I’m feeling good about that. I eat more protein than anything else. I’m not avoiding any particular type of food, but am I learning that some foods just aren’t worth eating. For instance, I like bread and pasta, but right now it’s not worth my time to eat more than a bite of it (literally, one bite!) I ate a beignet from Cafe Dumonde with a good friend who was here over the weekend, but I learned that I’d rather have the coffee right now. And that’s okay with me.

I’m learning that I can eat whatever I want, just not at one time. Most of the time I’m content with a high-protein shake in the morning, chicken or pork in the afternoon or evening and a bite or two of other things (based on what’s available.)

I can’t express how good it feels to recognize the chains that are breaking in my life right now. I’ve been addicted to feeling overly full for so long that I didn’t realize how awesome it could feel to be satisfied, yet light on my feet.

I am starting to look at food now without feeling a need to eat all of it (whatever it is,) and that feels even better than dropping the 55 pounds I’ve shed so far.

I’m striving to be more active, and I’m seeing improvements there too. Instead of taking an Uber over the weekend I walked to the hotel for the conference. I also walked to a neighboring gym to bring cookies to a friend who was working there. I wouldn’t have done that six months ago. Actually, I wouldn’t have done that a month ago.

I feel less lethargic and more content than I’ve felt in years. I know that it’s a long, long road, but I’m finally happy/thankful/pleased to be on this path.

 

 

 

 

 

Date Night, Shiftcon and More…

Life has been pretty good over the last few weeks, but this has been one of the best weeks I’ve had in quite a while.

domenica-new-orleansTuesday night Michael and I went out for an early dinner at my favorite restaurant, which is located in the Roosevelt Hotel near my home. The food was delicious! I used to eat the majority of their thin pizza, but that night I was able to eat a small slice.

After dinner we walked into the lobby of the hotel because it’s always decorated beautifully at Christmas, and there were old-fashioned Christmas carolers singing all of my favorite tunes.

I also met Santa Claus that night, which was the highlight of the tree lighting! I’m pretty sure he was the real Santa too because he definitely looked the part.

santa-clausAfter the tree-lighting ceremony we walked back to my place to put our leftovers in the fridge, then we walked down to the Riverwalk. It’s only a few blocks from home too, so we stroll over there from time to time.

We stopped at the Riverwalk outlet mall and shopped. Okay, no…I shopped while Michael played Pokemon Go, and I was able to find the perfect Christmas gift for my dad.

It was also a healthy week for me, which makes me feel good. After hearing my primary doctor tell me that she’s “never seen anyone do so poorly” after weight-loss surgery I dropped another 6 pounds. I’ve added two since then, which brings me to 52 pounds lost since in the last 10 weeks. I’m not losing weight as quickly as I thought I would (or as quickly as others have lost,) but I’m losing. I’m not seeing it on the scale, but I’m feeling it in my clothes.

I bought a shirt last month that I couldn’t button yet hoping that it would fit by Christmas, but it fits now. I could wear it, but I have to drive an hour each way back to The Avenue because they forgot to remove the sensor. I’m glad I kept my receipt!

Now it’s the end of the week, and I spent the day at Shiftcon. I’ve been struggling to consume enough protein lately, but I resorted to drinking things that I don’t like. Thankfully, when I arrived at Shiftcon this morning I learned about a product called Vital Proteins, and it’s going to be a game changer for me.

The awesome folks at Vital Proteins sent me home with lots of unflavored protein that I can add to my coffee and most other things I consume, and it’s such a relief to know that I’ll have enough protein by the day’s end (without continuing to drink stuff that I find appalling.

There are so many awesome people and products at Shiftcon that I’m still a bit overwhelmed by it all (in a good way.) It was so nice to see my long time pal, Alyssa, and my fierce friend, Kia. We were Twitter partying together, which we’ll be doing again tomorrow at 4 pm. You should join us if you can to win some cool prizes!

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Now I’m heading out again to have coffee with my friend, Amanda. I’m not ready for beignets, but it’s a great night for a warm and cozy drink.

I can’t wait to head back to Shiftcon tomorrow. I’m so glad it’s right here in my neighborhood because change is happening right in my backyard.

I’m feeling better than I have in months, maybe years. I feel smaller, healthier and lighter on my feet, and I’m starting to feel like this whole weight-loss surgery thing is working. I’m also working on exercising more, and this week I’ve really enjoyed it. (That’s a relief!)

 

 

 

Quiet, but Happy

I haven’t had much to say here lately. I’ve been busier than normal, which is a good thing because now I’m ready to relax and enjoy the holidays. I love this time of year!

I’ve been avoiding the scale for weeks now, and I’m happier that way. I know I must be losing pounds or inches or something because my clothes fit much better than they did, but I’m also retaining a lot of fluid this week.

When I spoke to the dietitian at my surgeon’s office a couple of weeks ago she told me to drink considerably more water than I had been drinking since surgery. I went from drinking about a gallon a day to drinking less than a bottle a day post-op. Now I’m drinking one to two bottles a day (at least,) but my goal is 4 bottles (or 64 oz.) I rarely reach that, but I’m starting to reach my protein goals on a daily basis, so I’m still making some progress.

This journey hasn’t been easy. I spent most of last month fighting feelings of anger and regret toward my choice to have surgery, but I’m over that now. I’ve made peace with my decision, and I seriously need to give it some time to work. I’m doing my best most days, which feels like enough right now.

A coupe of weeks ago I decided to focus on other things, and I’ve been much happier since then. I’ve gotten back to my old self, in that, I’m spending time with loved ones again, cooking, baking and enjoying work.

My Christmas tree is up thanks to my Christmas-loving boyfriend, who took time to pick it out and fluff it with me, and I’m almost finished with my holiday shopping.

My exercise restrictions were lifted last week, and my food restrictions are lifted this week. I don’t eat much at all, but I’m starting to get used to it. That’s been the weirdest adjustment so far. In fact, I may discuss that in a different post at some point.

Life is pretty good right now. I’m happy, and I have some big things to look forward to. The future is bright, and I’m thankful.

 

What’s Your Favorite Brand for Sneakers?

I’m doing my first official 5k race in a few weeks. I’ve walked many 5k’s, but I’ve never received a medal at the end of it. I don’t mind walking, but the idea of paying money to wake up early on the weekend to exercise in the heat has never really appealed to me. Ha

When my boyfriend asked me to do it I said yes without hesitation. I’ve always dreamed of being with a kind, loving man who will show up for races with me, and now I have that. My guess is that he’ll run the race, then wait for me at the finish line. I don’t want to slow him down, but I’ll be happy to see him waiting for me when I finish.

I’ve wanted to do this race every year since moving to New Orleans. Most of the cool races happen in my neighborhood, so it’s convenient, but this one is always appealing because it ends on the 50-yard line inside the Superdome.

I’ve been to Saints games, of course, but there’s something about jogging through the tunnels and onto the finish line, where I’ll receive a metal, that excites me. (What can I say? I have a flair for the dramatic.)

I’m looking forward to walking the race even though it’s going to take me over an hour to finish it. The timing doesn’t matter to me. I just love any opportunity to remind myself that I can do cool things.

I’ve been walking a lot over the last week or so. (Thank you, Pokemon Go!) And I realized even before walking all over town chasing Pokemons that I need new sneakers…badly.

Over the last few years I’ve moved away from Nike to New Balance, Asics, then Brooks. I loved the Asics so much that I wore a hole in one. I’m not particularly fond of New Balance, but the Brooks weren’t bad. I’m just not sure which brand I’ll choose now.

Do you have a favorite, go-to brand for sneakers? If so, which one?

 

Flooding, Devastation and A Chance To Help

The weather has been stormy for days, but thankfully, I’m safe and dry at home. We didn’t experience the flooding that Baton Rouge did, but some people I love lost everything.

One friend, moved into a house that she bought about a month ago, had water up to there waist inside her house yesterday. And do you know what she did? She left her things, got into a boat and helped rescue families in her neighborhood who were stuck in their attics.

Baton Rouge and its surrounding area has seen some rough times recently, but right now, we’re also seeing love and support coming from people all over. It’s awesome.

My church plans to head over to help clean up as soon as the roads open (tomorrow morning,) so Michael and I are going to make lunches to bring over. It’s not much, but every little bit of food, clothing, sweat and elbow grease will help right now.

I don’t have loads of money just sitting around, but I do know a lot of people. My hope is that together we can make a difference.

I’ve been writing here for over 7 years, and I’ve only solicited donations for one other cause that was close to my heart. I know that there are catastrophes happening around the world, and I know that we can’t fix everything. I also know that little steps produce big results.

My church is raising money to help in the recovery efforts of our church family and families in the Baton Rouge area that we may never even know. 100% of the proceeds they collects are going straight to the victims of the flooding disaster.

If you’re reading this I’m asking you to consider donating $1 or $10, or $100. Every dollar will make a difference, and together, we can help people who are hurting.

Just go to the link, enter the amount you want to done and click on serve: https://nolachurch.churchcenteronline.com/giving/to/offering 

My heart goes out to the people hurt by this devastation. We need to pray, but we also need to take action. If you donate, regardless of the amount, I’d like to know about it. Please leave a comment or send me an email, so I can thank you.

Thank you for supporting my efforts and for continually encouraging me on my journey. If you can’t afford to give, please keep these families in your prayers. If you can spare a few bucks, you’ll receive my heartfelt gratitude.

Regardless, I’m so thankful that the water is starting to recede and for the hope that’s on the horizon.

 

Gastric Sleeve Update #2

The last 30 hours have been overwhelming in some ways, and I feel so grateful for the support I have in my life. Seriously, God knew exactly what He was doing when He put Michael in my life.

I spoke to the surgeon’s office on Tuesday, and when she heard my story (the weight portion) she encouraged me to complete all of the necessary testing and to see my doctor again sooner than I had planned. She was happy to hear that I’m already a Weight Watchers member and suggested that I speak to my doctor about my food and exercise journey.

cardiologistAfter that conversation, which was encouraging and productive, I made an appointment with a cardiologist and saw her yesterday. My heart is healthy, so my cardiologist ran a few necessary tests and cleared me for the surgery. I still have a couple of remaining steps, and the next big one is coming up on Tuesday of next week.

Tuesday night I experienced a little fear and anxiety over the surgery itself and the aftermath. Everyone tells me it’s the best decision they’ve ever made; they also tell me that it changes everything.

The truth is I definitely want and need to lose weight, but I don’t want it to change everything. I love my life, my family, my boyfriend, my church, my job, my friends, etc. I’m happier than I’ve ever been before, and while I recognize that surgery will make me healthier, I momentarily panicked when I considered the words of people who’ve already experienced it.

Ultimately, I realize that everyone’s journey is different. Maybe their lives needed to change. The fact is that mine started changing drastically about four years ago, and I’m happier and more settled than I ever imagined I would be.

Life is good. It’s not always perfect or easy, but it’s good. I’m so thankful for that, and as I reflected on how many positive changes have happened over the last several years my fear was replaced by faith. My boyfriend, who hugged me and quietly prayed for me, reminded me that God has a plan for  my life, and He’s always faithful.

Now I can rest easily, once again, knowing that I only have to take one step at a time, and I’m thankful for that too.

 

Skin Issues, Sleep Apnea Results and Moving Forward

I haven’t exercised in over three weeks until today. My skin irritation still isn’t 100% better, but I took prescriptions for 10 days, saw the doctor again and decided that I felt well enough to get back to normal.

Unfortunately, my skin issues aren’t going away unless I leave New Orleans and/or lose a significant amount of weight. It’s hard to lose weight when it hurts to move, but the wounds are improving. I’m not leaving New Orleans any time soon, so I’m striving to make use of the gym again. (It’s pretty convenient since my office is a 20 second walk to the gym and even in the same building.) This darn skin issue has just been winning lately – until today.

Kenlie YMCA

Several of you have left comments and sent messages regarding my  skin issues, and I appreciate the advice and encouragement. I haven’t really explained what’s causing the pain because it’s gross, but I’m going to explain it now. I have cellulitis, and there are a couple of small, very painful spots that are fighting not to become infected. They’re open, and there’s no way to keep them dry. It’s just not possible, and as a result I feel pain when I lift my right leg to walk, sit in the car, stand up, lie down, etc. It’s not fun, but it’s considerably better than it was a week ago.

This week my goal is to do cardio at least three times. That doesn’t seem like much, but if you saw my skin you’d be surprised that I’m doing that. Today I did some floor exercises and played around with weights (perks of working at the YMCA,) and I felt pretty good about it.

IMG_3013I decided I’d try to do a plank too even though that’s hard for me because I knew doing it would inspire me to work harder, and it did. If you want to watch me go from cool and relaxed to sweaty and a little cocky just watch me do a plank. I can’t do it for long, but it’s something that I’m going to start working to improve again.

Riding a bicycle is out for now, and I’m still a day or two away from dance cardio. I felt pretty good about strength exercises like planks, squats and weights.

I’m not sure when I’ll feel 100% again, but it definitely felt good to fumble around in the gym today. I was reminded that I’m stronger than I remembered, and I’m also capable of doing a lot more than I’ve been doing. (Yeah, it hurts. It legitimately hurts, and I needed to take some time to heal.) It also feels good to start fresh.

I had some encouraging news today as well. I do not have sleep apnea! I’m pretty sure my doctor’s office was surprised, but I was fairly confident that I was fine because I typically sleep well. It’s a relief to know that sleep apnea isn’t something I have to worry about because I had no plans to use a CPAP machine even if they told me I’d need one. Whew!

I’ll head back to the doctor in a few weeks to check in, and as overwhelming as it is to think about spending so much time being poked and prodded over the next several months, I’m thankful that I’m getting my health in order again. I’m even more thankful that, overall, I’m okay. My health could certainly be much worse, and I realize how lucky I still have time to make positive changes.

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My Initial Thoughts On Having Bariatric Surgery

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to weight-loss surgery over the last week, and here’s what I know so far:

  • The surgeon I was referred to accepts my insurance, which makes it possible to consider.
  • If I have surgery, which I hope to do, I will choose the gastric sleeve.
  • Losing weight feels good, and that part will be awesome.
  • I know I’ll have to work at it.
  • The first month will be the hardest. It may or may not be miserable (mainly because I’ll wish I could chew food.)
  • People in my personal life who have had the sleeve have experienced great success with it.
  • I’ll have to spend the night in the hospital, which is not something I look forward to.
  • I’m honestly scared to think about having surgery.
  • I’m hopeful that it will eventually be among the best health decisions I’ve ever made.
  • I’ll get to drink the protein shakes that I love now. (Shout out to Tera’s Whey! That stuff is awesome!)
  • My family will be super supportive.
  • I’ll have to take some time off work.
  • My boyfriend will be my strong arm, and he’ll help Mom while she helps me.
  • I’ll take more selfies. (Okay, I’m kidding. I already take enough selfies.)

The thing is…I already love my life and the people in it. I have a loving and supportive family, a job that I enjoy, an awesome circle of friends, a relationship with a intelligent, loyal guy (whom I now talk about online) and a church family who loves me too. My life is already good, and I want to be around as long as possible to enjoy it.

I haven’t been to the consultation yet, but I’ll make the appointment this week. It’s not a quick process, but I’m relieved that it’s starting. I’m doing a sleep apnea test at home next week, which should be interesting. I don’t snore, typically sleep through the night and wake up feeling rested. I don’t think I suffer from sleep apnea, but I’m going to go through every test I need to take.